CHICAGO — Dri-Air Industries Inc. is adding a variety of new dryers and blenders to its auxiliary portfolio, and also is adding space at its headquarters factory.
Dri-Air (Booth N7162) is displaying a new line of blenders as well as its new "molding cell" creation that combines drying, blending and grinding into one station.
The molding cell allows the runner to be dropped into a grinder where it is ground into pellets. The reground material then is conveyed into a blending hopper where it is mixed with a virgin resin. The blend then is sent through plastic tubing back up to the extruder to be used again, President Charlie Sears explained in a June 19 interview at his firm's NPE booth.
The portable machine can be wheeled from one press to another, as to a cleaning station, without much effort, he said.
Blenders are a whole new realm for Dri-Air this year. The first is the closed-loop weigh blender, designed specifically for small batches or just-in-time blending.
The weigh scale blender can "keep as small amount of material as possible to stop it from picking up moisture," Sears said.
The compact system allows for quick and multiple material changes and small batches to be used so that blended material does not have to be stored.
Speaking of small things, Dri-Air has redesigned its smallest dryer to be "the smallest dual-bed dryer, we believe, in the world," Sears said.
The Arid-X/10 is a 10-by-17-by-18-inch dryer that sits atop a table. The unit produces as little as 1 pound per hour, he said.
Users in the medical markets and in industry research labs sometimes mold at such a pace, Sears said.
"We were going to molders whose dryers are larger than their mold machines," he added.
Meanwhile, Dri-Air also offers the HP4-X/400 and X/500 dryers that process up to 500 pounds an hour. Though large, these dryers use about 50 percent less energy than the usual two-bed and rotary-bed dryers.
Dri-Air uses high temperature and low flow, just the opposite of traditional dryers, Sears said. The regeneration heaters are placed within the desiccant towers, keeping heat minimal and using less air for regeneration.
"A lot of people have designed [dryers] to use gas because it's cheaper. [The new machine] uses so little power it's really not necessary to use gas," he added.
Drying also is made easier through Dri-Air's new touch-screen programmable-logic controller.
The new controls not only allow a processor to set the temperature but to change it. The control also senses when the temperature is reaching its maximum, signaling that the material is dry, and automatically reduces the temperature, Sears said.
All these new products need space, so Dri-Air is building another 10,000 square feet onto its current 20,000-square-foot plant in East Windsor, Conn., he said.
The company plans to break ground this summer and complete construction by year's end.
Dri-Air also has hired on Michael Keane, formerly with Conair Group, as its new vice president of sales.